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"I can't overemphasize [his] importance in the history of rock & roll. He was in the truest sense of the term, a genuine revolutionary."
—Sire President Howie Klein

REMEMBERING JOEY RAMONE

Beloved Punk-Rock Frontman Left Mark As "Revolutionary"; Finished Solo Disc

Joey Ramone, long-legged, mop-haired lead singer for the legendary punk-rock band the Ramones, died at 2:40 p.m. ET Sunday (4/15) in a New York hospital after a long bout with lymphatic cancer. He was 49.

Said Reprise President Howie Klein, who worked with the band while President of Sire: "I can't overemphasize [his] importance in the history of rock & roll. He was in the truest sense of the term, a genuine revolutionary. In many ways, the Ramones were as important to popular music as the Beatles and the Stones."

Born Jeffrey Hyman, Joey co-founded the band in Forest Hills, N.Y., with Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy, named after a pseudonym once used by Paul McCartney. The band broke up in 1996 after 22 years. Their '76 self-titled debut album was recently called by Spin magazine the "Most Essential Punk Record" of all-time, while the track "Blitzkrieg Bop" was named the second-greatest punk song ever.

Over the last few years, Joey had worked with his longtime idol Ronnie Spector, co-writing and co-producing her 1999 EP. He was also working on a debut solo album at the time of his death, having written nearly 20 new songs with the Dictators' Andy Shernoff, Cracker drummer Frank Funaro and longtime collaborator/Ramones producer Daniel Rey. The album is expected to come out later this year.

"He was loved by everyone who knew him or heard him," Rey told MTV.com. "There was never anyone like him, nor will there ever be again. He encapsulated everything about rock ‘n’ roll music and did it with passion."

"So sad about Joey Ramone," wrote indie-rock stalwart Mike Watt in a typically concise mass e-mail. "Always a very nice man to me. His music timeless, even played in Pedro, my town. ‘Sheena Is a Punk Rocker.’ Me Too. Miss You, Joey. Love from Watt."

VH1 will pay tribute to the man and the band twice this week, airing the 30-minute "Hey! Hey! Let's Go: The Story of the Ramones" on Wednesday (4/18) and a special "All Access" installment, "25 Years of Punk" (in conjunction with Spin), the following night.

Private funeral services for the family will be held tomorrow (4/17) in New York, while public memorial concerts are being planned for both coasts.

 

 

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TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
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CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
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Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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